NEW YORK — Contemporary vendors at the Designers & Agents show, which ended its three-day run at the Starrett Lehigh Building here on Tuesday, marched to the beat of their own drummer.
The extreme floral prints that permeated the spring designer runways and the much-hyped green dress Keira Knightley wears in "Atonement" made way for a slew of charming summer dresses, shirts, tunics and T-shirts in light fabrics and bright colors.
The summer show, which is smaller than its spring and winter counterparts, attracted 68 exhibitors, compared with 64 in 2007, and 1,246 attendees, up from 956.
Sandra Wilson, accessories fashion director of Neiman Marcus, said she looked for new opportunities and talents. "I always find interesting resources at D&A, and it's easy to look because you are not inundated with so many of them, and there are several people from California that I don't have the opportunity to see otherwise," she said.
Based on her findings, Wilson said she anticipated a strong summer season. "We have so much color to report and I feel strongly that our customer loves color and that it's an emotional response. And with prints and this global infusion, which we have not had for a while, emerging as another trend, we have quite a bit to talk about. It's newness for the customer, and it will be a good season because of that."
Henri Bendel fashion director Ann Watson, who said holiday business was "phenomenal," came to D&A looking for something new.
"One of the exciting things we saw at the show was the continuation of color," Watson said. "I liked the yellows and blues and greens, and I also liked the summer lifestyle trends, like Letarte offering bathing suits and cover-ups, and everything you need for your summer wardrobe."
Watson cited items such as Tracy Watts' fedora with a fish-printed scarf banded detail, LNA's colored tanks and butterfly rings from Nola Singer as among the standouts.
"I was hoping to see a bit more newness," she noted. "I was looking for easy breezy summer dresses and wanted more people to respond to the floral prints trends and decorative hair, and more jewelry. It wasn't there, but we will back there in three-and-a-half weeks."Designer Charlotte Ronson said it was a good show. "People are still looking for buy-now, wear-now pieces," said Ronson, whose top sellers included a sailor blue striped dress for $83 wholesale.
Bangkok-based Senada Theory, new to D&A, offered a vintage-inspired collection of dresses and skirts with artisanal details. Bestsellers included a silk-tiered dress with ribbon halters for $186 wholesale, long cotton silk skirts with yellow piping for $178 and a silk blouse with braiding detail across the front and tiered cap sleeves for $108.
"I have noticed that buyers are really homing in on the more monochromatic pieces with details like bows," said Jennifer Yung, who heads the label's U.S. sales. "I think they are trying to play it safe because of the economic uncertainty for 2008."
At Maui, Hawaii-based Letarte, top-selling pieces included an unfitted cotton voile shirt with gold embroidery for $86 wholesale and a safari print silk shirt with crochet and brass details for $96.
"Because we have immediate product, there is inventory," president Michele Letarte Ross said. "Coming off of Christmas, a lot of stores have told me that they were going into the holiday season unsure of how much inventory they would have. Now they got through well, and many have open-to-buy."
Barbara Kramer, who coproduces D&A with Ed Mandelbaum, echoed the sentiment. "With the economy, people were nervous and some retailers said they didn't buy heavily last year. They are now out of merchandise and looking to fill their inventories."
Kramer and Mandelbaum pointed to three elements that could drive increases this year: the growth in attendance of international buyers because of the strength of many foreign currencies against the dollar, the rising popularity of green-themed collections and the overall strengthening of some collections amid a tougher climate, "because they have to," Mandelbaum said. He likened 2008 to a survival-of-the-fittest year. "It won't be a big expansion year, but the year of making improvements."
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews